From sharks to shrimps, octopus to the tropical fish, it’s all on display in our living theatre of the deep by Rebecca Mason [October 2009]
The Merimbula Aquarium is a must-see attraction both for entertainment and education about our wonderful creatures of the sea. This 28 tank aquarium, including the large ocean tank filled with 70 tonnes water, 38 species & 100 fish is a fascinating attraction.
Apart from ‘Nemo’ the clownfish, all sealife exhibited at this educational aquarium have been sourced locally. Varieties of sealife on exhibit include seahorse, crayfish, grey spotted catshark, flathead, ‘Ollie’ the Octopus, ‘Snuffy’ the cuttlefish, ‘accidental tourists’ from the Great Barrier Reef, the fascinating ‘Sea Pen’ and many more varieties.
Staff are always around to ‘ask questions’ and gain more information about the sea creatures on display. Curator, Michael, has an indepth knowledge of the sea creatures and has many stories to tell about their antics, particularly those of the mischievous ‘Ollie the Octopus’ – just ask him about the day that Ollie escaped from his tank and ate one of his neighbours! Other friendly staff include Alan, Brendan, Brett & James, and of course owners Sally & Anthony.
Fish feeding is a ‘must-see’ and occurs every Monday, Wednesday & Friday at 11.30am. All fish feeding ‘displays’ run for approximately 1 hour, with a ‘guide’ taking the group to all tanks. The opportunity is given for every sea creature to be fed starting with the creatures in the large ocean tank. As the species are being fed, behaviours are being explained. ‘Ollie the Octopus’ & ‘Snuffy the Cuttlefish’ were particularly interesting as we witnessed Ollie open a jar to get his ‘fish lunch’ and Snuffy do his ‘party trick’ by using his survival techniques of ‘changing shape’ and ‘camaflouging’. Whilst Monday, Wednesday or Friday are the scheduled fish-feeding days, Wednesdays are particularly recommended as Alan shares his knowledge of sealife in a very fun & informative demonstation for the children.
Another upcoming feature of the Merimbula Aquarium is a ‘measurer’ so visitors can imagine how big creatures of the sea can grow to such as the Giant Squid, Killer Whale, Humpback Whale & More.
We spent the morning at the aquarium with the older children entranced by the sea creatures and learning about their habits. The younger children were very pleased to see such a large variety of fish and in particular liked the ‘pretty’ ‘accidental tourists’ from the Great Barrier Reef. Baby Kobi wanted to touch all the tanks and felt very content watching the creatures swim by in the large oceanarium. I personally felt more educated about our sealife and appreciated the opportunity to get up close and personal with such a large variety of species.
I would highly recommend a visit to the Merimbula Aquarium for all the family and with young children would recommend to go during a fish feeding, in particular on Wednesday. Otherwise, older children would enjoy a visit at any time as the staff are always ‘on hand’ to answer questions.
Find out more about the Merimbula Aquarium
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MUM Rebecca “liked learning about all the different fish and their unique behaviours, and loved knowing that all the fish except ‘NEMO’ were found in nearby waters””we even witnessed a shark lay an egg which will not hatch for 12 months!”